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Bebop Spoken There

Art Hirahara: "Playing with people is the most important thing to me, and not playing with people is torture." - (DownBeat August, 2020)

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11,763 (and counting) posts since we started blogging just over 12 years ago. 903 of them this year alone and, so far, 40 this month (August 10).

Coming soon ...

August

Tuesday 11: Happy Birthday Dave Hignett & Peter King (80).

Thursday 13: Vieux Carre Jazzmen - The Holystone, Whitley Road, Holystone, North Tyneside NE27 0DA. Tel: 0191 266 6173. 1:00pm. Free. OUTDOOR gig.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

New Century Ragtime Orchestra @ Gateshead Old Town Hall

Tom Cook (cor), Caroline Irwin (cor/vcl but no uke), Don Fairley (tmb), Ed Cross (vln), Jim McBriarty (alt/clt/vcl), Alan Marshall (alt/clt), Gavin Lee (ten/clt), Steve Andrews (ten/clt/raconteur), Neville Hartley (pno), Keith Stephen (bjo/gtr), Phil Rutherford (sousa). Special guests: Nick Ward (dms), Keith Nichols (pno/vcl).
There was a time when it seemed Stan Tracey played every other gig in the North East. Now that mantle seems to have fallen on the shoulders, or rather the fingers, of Keith Nichols but don't worry Tracey-ites the GOM of British Jazz will be in Gateshead for the Sage Festival in March.
And, just as Stan has assimilated the music of Monk, so Keith has taken aboard the legacy of Fats Waller, James P and other stride men. Tonight he demonstrated that facility to a packed Town Hall. This makes yet another well supported gig - pinch me! Tell me I'm not dreaming!
However, this wasn't just about Keith or his Castle Bromwich based drummer Nick Ward but that most unique ensemble the New Century Ragtime Orchestra.
It was a brilliant concert which, coming from someone whose tastes lie further up the musical road, may be considered praise indeed.
Like the bands of old, with the NCRO, entertainment runs alongside the musical aspect and the NCRO score on both counts. Jim McBriarty singing "The Sheik of Araby" dressed as a Sheik of Araby, Steve Andrews' humourous compering - as well as his superb tenor feature on "Stars Fell on Alabama" accompanied by Nichols and rhythm section - Keith Stephen's banjo solo on "Lollipops" (yes me confessing to liking a banjo solo!). Jim had another gem in "Washing Dishes With My Sweetie" which contains the immortal line: "We do things we didn't oughta, holding hands under the water" - they sure don't write 'em like that anymore! The list of goodies is endless although, at the top, has to be the bands enthusiasm and the accuracy with which they read the parts successfully re-creating the sound of that era of crystal ball chandeliers, bootleg gin and Blackbottoms.
Then there is Caroline.
The young flapper was in fine voice and looked good on "Am I Blue" - love that tune - "I Think You'll Like It", "Only You" and "You'd Be Surprised" complete with come hither glances emphasising the mildly risqué lyric.
No ukulele tonight!
If you've got a big garage and you want to hold a massacre on St. Valentine's Day...
I drove my flivver home on a cloud.
Lance.

2 comments :

Russell said...

Hi Lance

It was really good to see the Old Town Hall packed-out. Keith Nichols' 'Shreveport Stomp' was one of many highlights.

Russell

Lance said...

One of many indeed - 30 to be mathematically precise.

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